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08 Jan 2020 | 10:05 PM UTC

Ethiopia: Ongoing internet and phone disruptions in Oromia as of January 8

Several parts of the western and southern Oromia region are experiencing internet and mobile phone service disruptions as of January 8

communications/technology
security
ETH

Event

Internet and mobile phone service disruptions have been reported in Oromia region since Monday, January 6. According to media reports, several towns in western and southern parts of the region are continuing to experience service cuts as of Wednesday, January 8. A spokesperson for Ethiotelecom, the only provider in the country, said on Wednesday that the company is unable to comment on the shutdowns but will issue an official statement soon. Unconfirmed reports also claim that there has been an increase in security operations in Oromia region during the shutdown.

It is unclear how long the disruptions to internet and mobile phone service will continue. Further shutdowns may occur with little or no warning.

Context

The Ethiopian government cut internet service throughout the country at least twice in 2019. Internet shutdowns occurred during national exams for secondary school students as well as during an outbreak of ethnic-related violence. Former Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) rebels continue to operate in Oromia region despite the group's leadership agreeing to a ceasefire in July 2018.

Advice

Individuals in the Oromia region are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, avoid any large gatherings and demonstrations due to the risk of violence, anticipate telecommunication disruptions, maintain redundant modes of communication, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities or their home governments.